Pokémon FireRed / LeafGreen (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Adam Riley 06.10.2004

Review for Pokémon FireRed / LeafGreen on Game Boy Advance

Hands up if you have never heard of Pokémon? Okay, Pocket Monsters? Right, well, if you are in the minority still with their index fingers firmly pointed skyward, then shame on you. The phenomenon created by Nintendo some six years ago has stretched so far and wide that people old and young are finding that they have something in common: knowledge of Pikachu and friends. But what if you somehow missed out on the original two titles? Well, Nintendo now has the answer…

You start out as a nameless young boy waking up in his bedroom, located in a sleepy little town. His mother mentions to you that Professor Oak, the local nut-case, is eager to see you to tell you something. Upon not finding him in his usual haunt, the laboratory, you make haste to leave town only for him to come charging toward you, warning of the dangerous monsters hiding in the bushes (strange how they were never noticed before…) and then letting you and his equally nameless nephew choose out of three monsters that can reside in your pocket and protect you when necessary. But why would you need protection? Well, he has an errand for you to run…and so begins your journey!

The original Pokémon duo were not exactly renowned and lauded for their wondrous graphical nature, but many attributed that to the fact that the 8bit Game Boy struggled at the best of times, let alone with so many Poké-critters filling up the cartridge space. Therefore, everybody was expecting a great and giant leap when the series moved to the 32bit Game Boy Advance. However, just as Pokémon Sapphire and Ruby left us feeling rather cold and with a general feeling of disappointment, FireRed and LeafGreen also fail to spark any feelings of amazement when initially booted-up. Essentially it is like playing a marginally improved Game Boy Colour title; old Pokémon with a bit more colour. In fact, it is now reminiscent of an old SNES favourite, Earthbound (Mother to the Japanese) – in other words, the graphics are basic, slightly colourful and just about somehow manage to do their job just fine…

Screenshot for Pokémon FireRed / LeafGreen on Game Boy Advance

Just as with the aesthetics side of matters, the overall aural experience is one better overlooked rather than focused too intently on. Listening to the remixed tunes from Pokémon Red and Blue might seem like a pleasant idea on paper, but you quickly realise that you have come to expect far more from your GBA SPs since many games released on to the market so far easily blow these remakes out of the water and on to a deserted little island where videogame music is terribly weak and the likes of Castlevania and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance bully the likes of FireRed and LeafGreen. Now, whilst the mediocre reworkings might be acceptable when hearing them through the GBA speaker, they certainly do not benefit from the use of headphones / external speakers as they simply highlight the GBC-standard score…and when you hear the pocket monster’s digitised grunts and cries that are clearly straight from the era of the GB, you will cringe and turn the volume right down!

Screenshot for Pokémon FireRed / LeafGreen on Game Boy Advance

Nintendo, intentionally or not, made an extremely wise move by excluding the very first set of Pok

Screenshot for Pokémon FireRed / LeafGreen on Game Boy Advance

And that is it. Go around from town to town, collecting pocket monsters, helping them build up and increase their range of abilities, gaining special badges from beating other famous Pok

Screenshot for Pokémon FireRed / LeafGreen on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Nintendo has struck gold again with Pokémon LeafGreen/FireRed!


Game Freak




Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10 (35 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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